One suitcase for me, one for my food. Sounds TOTALLY normal, right?!
Some people buy magnets, some locally crafted wares like leather or expensive handbags, some tourist trinkets. When I travel, I buy FOOD. Spices, pâtés, teas, seasonings… It’s so expected, it’s gone beyond my trips – my own daughters or wanderlust friends have brought me soup mix from Vietnam, spice from Morocco, oil from Spain. They get me <touched *sniff*>.
The trick is remembering to pack only “pantry goods” – things that don’t require refrigeration – goods allowed to bring back to your country, and packed in a check-in bag for the air. Yep, I’ve had to remember that the hard way…
In the end, it’s SUCH a lovely way to re-visit a place and time – through the memories of food and flavours. My favorite part of having these goodies on hand is being able to bring out something unique at dinners to extend the treats to my guests. Also makes for conversation helpers, which I’m always in need of! “Hey, did you know the oils are straight from Spain? Have you been?!”…
Food markets are a great travel destination to add in with your Museums etc – it’s not hard to find some great epicurian goodies! I’ve found a few markets in places like Spain and Italy that resemble our own Granville Island, which I frequent (heading there today!) when I want more unique produce, meats or seasonings that I wouldn’t typically find in the grocery store.
Sometimes the treasure comes with an absolute experience, like this lad serving up some truffled Maille mustard like it was GOLD (if Hubby asks, it was on sale…).
This purchase came with tastings, recipe tips, a few laughs and, of course, service with a smile! I couldn’t help but document it all. Can I buy this particular jar at home? Probably. Can I buy the story that came with it, at home? Nope.
Now trips to Palm Springs have one-upped it all.
We tend to stay in a unit within a bigger, enclosed community, often full of lemon, grapefruit, oranges and lime trees, and end up juicing like crazy, so why not use the innards and peels, too? Gigantic batches of Marmelade, coming up! My Foodie-Friend and I nurse it and add to it for the whole week, adding the sugar and Grand Marnier in at the very end. I wrap the ‘jam’ up in a giant tupperware, protect it with a few plastic bags into my – Hubby’s – luggage LOL, and can it in proper jars when I get home.
YUM. I feel the sun every time I eat a piece of toast…
Over the years I’ve accumulated quite the pantry (yes, you’ll come to realize I’m a major pack rat…). This > is my “travel drawer” that I pull from anytime there’s a special dinner or occassion. But even just opening it once in awhile brings back floods of memories of places in time… And THAT is a treasure.
Do you have a favorite “travel souvenier”? What do you pack all the way home – besides 1,000’s of pics on your iPhone? 😉